Peterborough’s Festival of Literature and Poetry 2013
My presentation in Journey to Islands Part of We Love Words 2013
Organised by The John Clare Trust
By: Celso Oliveira
Peterborough Central Library, 27th September 2013
Many poems in my new book “Os Escritos Dum Poeta Timorense” are about life in East Timor during the Indonesian occupation from 1975 until 1999.
I was a young boy when I saw my beloved country was invaded and occupied by the Indonesian military on the 7th of December 1975. My beloved father, uncle, aunt and many Timorese people died soon after that. Life was very hard for East Timorese people. One of my poems talks about this:
And She Become A Widow
As soon as the war started/
She became a widow/
Still young to become one.
Her husband died, not for illness/
But he died in the arms of his brother, his comrades/
He left wife and children….
Each minute/ each day/ each month/ each year/ was a cross to bear.
This poem represents the suffering and pain of the East Timorese women.
Another poem is “The Silence of The Timorese” is about how the Timorese were living and fighting alone against the Indonesian military without supported by any country in the world. These are two lines from this poem:
The body dies not the soul/
O corpo morre mas a alma não
We will stay here, fighting and building Timor.
Nós continuamos aqui, lutar e construir Timor
About Me and The War, I wrote:
I hate war because:
War destroyed our childhood, our youth, our development and future.
War splits-up parents, children, brother and sister
War brought misery, famine, hatred, vengeance and resentment.
War made widows and orphans.
As a writer and poet, I couldn’t express my thoughts and feeling while East Timor was under the Indonesian occupation. One of my poems about this is:
Imagine my friends!
Imagine meu amigo!
So many problems in life,
Tantos problemas que existem na vida
From our children, parents, from our identity,
Os dos nossos filhos, dos nossos pais, da nossa identidade,
But this is the toughest: our homeland is occupied.
Mas este é o maior: A Pátria está ocupada
Imagine my friend!
Imagine meu amigo!
We feel fear but we can’t defend ourselves
Nós temos razão, mas não podemos defendê-la
There’s no writer writing in freedom.
Não há escritor que escreva em liberdade.
My poem “Waiting For The Time” expresses hope for freedom.
Waiting For The Time
It’s a long waiting.
É longa espera
It’s a mess.
It’s a silence.
It’s a soliloquy
Kids, teenagers, adults, elderly,
Crianças, jovens, adultos, velhos
Birds, earth, sea, farms,
Pássaros, terra, mar, quintas
Pavements, shirts, cloths,
Calçadas, camisas, panos
Kids are born and play far from home
As crianças nascem e brincam longe da terra
Students study far from their land
Os estudantes estudam longe da terra
Their parents work far away
Os pais trabalham longe da terra
All of them waiting for the time.
Todos à espera do tempo
All of them waiting for freedom.
Todos à espera da liberdade
Some of my poems are about faith. It’s because I believe in God and I think without Him I am nothing. During the war, I always kept a Rosary in my pocket.
One of my poems is “With The Rosary In Their Hands”:
Outside Santa Cruz’s graveyard/
Fora do cemitério de Santa Cruz
Indonesian soldiers fired their rifles/
Os soldados Indonesios dispararam tiros.
Inside the graveyard/
Dentro do cemitério
Young people said Rosary in Portuguese.
Os jovens Timorenses rezavam o terço em Português.
Desperate, anguished, shouting and screaming/
Desesperados, com medo, choro e gritos
But feeling faith, confidence and hope in Our Lady of Fatima.
Mas com fé, confiança e esperança em Nossa Senhora de Fátima
The soldiers entered the graveyard,
Os soldados entraram no cemitério
The young Timorese prayed and kept singing
Os jovens Timorenses cada vez mais rezavam e cantavam mais
“Our Lady of Fatima, Pray for us”
“Nossa Senhora do Rosário de Fátima, Rogai por nós”
Pátria or Homeland represents for me everything. My life, my future, my school, suffering, dying, etc. During the war I felt that I could lose my studies, my family but I didn’t want to lose my homeland.
In my poem “Homeland” I wrote:
That’s once in a lifetime/
É uma vez na vida
If we don’t catch in once/
Se não agarrarmos bem
We will never do that again/
If we betray/
We will cry and regret/
Choramos e arrependemo-nos
If we proclaim our Independence/
Se proclamarmos a independencia
We will be proud of it/
Homeland is the kiss
A Pátria é o beijo
Of the kid and of the old
Da criança ao velho
Homeland is the music
A Pátria é a música
Homeland is the sacred book,
A Pátria é o livro sagrado
Of the poets who write the poems:
Dos poetas que escrevem poemas:
Homeland Timor Loro sa’e
Pátria Timor Lro Sa’e
Music is a medium used of humans to bring happiness but music can’t change our homeland.
In my poem “Music and Homeland” I describe one of my artistic life. Music brings sorrow and courage.
The music of war is the music of homesickness/
A música da Guerra é a muúica de saudade
Longing for our childhood, wretched by war/
Saudade do nosso tempo de infância que foi estragada pela guerra.
It’s also the music of pride that makes us keep fighting.
Tambem é a música do orgulho que faz continuar a lutar.
Music is followed by nice words making us motivated, courageous and caring.
A musica é acompanhada com palavras bonitas que dao motivação, coragem e amor.
Our homeland is far away, far from us.
A nossa terra é longe de mim, de todos nos.
Thinking of homeland is thinking with our hearts and soul.
Pensar na pátria é pensar com coracao e alma.
My last poem is “My Country Now Free From War”:
Now I'm happy because my country is free from war.
Happy at last because there’s no more war in East Timor.
The white colour, the green colour.
They mean my country is living in peace and hope.
My whole being enjoying together.
Some party dishes,
Some dancing together with friends,
And planning for the future.
People don't cry anymore because of war.
People no longer like war.
They’ve said goodbye to war.
And welcome to peace and reconciliation.
People wake up in the morning and go to work,
Coming home from work they can talk about the future.
And I hope if all the people in the world read this poem,
They will say "we’re happy because there’s no more war in East Timor".
Politicians! Please don't make anymore war in East Timor.
Nor people from other countries, please don't make war.
People from Indonesian and Australian,
Please work together with East Timor,
To make a better future of East Timor.
Folk from around the world please enjoy this poem with me.